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Family terms in english

One of problem for me in English is family calling terms .
I find it hard to resolve who is who? for example we call someone aunt and don't know who is she ? the sister of father or mother? or the uncle's wife? who is uncle? I find it sometimes like a spaghetti .
How do you distinct these relative from each other?
We have exact terms for all of our family member from grandfather of grandfather to grandson of grandson of grandson .

It's cool to know about your native language and if how you manage calling familiy members.



While my father's sister is my "aunt", so is my mother's sister.  It does not depend on the gender of the parent.  My mother's mother is my grandmother and her sister is my great-aunt.  For simplicity, her children are my "cousins" but they are second cousins.  English relational terms are very simple unless you start worrrying about "in-law".  My sister's husband is my "brother-in-law", but his sister is no relation to me except perhaps friend.


Obviously if we know them we don't find any ambiguity. It shows itself when we start reading a book or watching a film and we find talking about these sort of relations without any particular introduction about them.



If I get to know that that woman is my friend's aunt, I wouldn't care if she's his father's sister or his mother's sister. That doesn't matter I think.

If you need to distinguish between your mother's sister and your father's sister, you can say maternal or paternal aunt. If your mean your father's brother's wife, it gets more awkward. You could possibly say paternal aunt by marriage, but generally we don't go into that much detail.


I also have the same question, for example, my father's mother and my mother's mother stay together, when I call "grandmother", who will answer me?

Here in Philippines we are calling aunte and uncle for all people who we think is already married even if they are  not part of the family or we don't know them ( like its our first time to meet them or just some people in the street ). We also calling people Kuya (older brother) ate (older sister) for all people who are older than us but not married.


For family - I just call aunte and uncle those are married relative which are not my cousin.  We call grandma and grandpa for those who are very old already. Whenever I will join family reunion it's very hard for me to determine how am I related to them since Filipino family are very close to each other that even 3rd degree cousins still know each other.. Even the cousin of the cousin of your cousin which might be not your cousin anymore you will think that she/he is your cousin.

Thanks Doris cool and complicated.

I get vertigo when thinking about how hard it could be to find real family there :D

"I also have the same question, for example, my father's mother and my mother's mother stay together, when I call "grandmother", who will answer me?"

No one, because they'd be insulted you don't know their names!

With grandparents you also say maternal and paternal grandmother or grandfather, but you wouldn't call them that as a name. There are a variety of names that people use for grandparents:Nana, Granny, Grandpa, Pop. In my family, we called my maternal grandmother Nana, and my paternal grandmother Grandma. My maternal grandfather was Pop-pop. Sometimes we referred to both of my grandmothers as Grandma, but added a last name to distinguish them. My neighbors called their paternal grandparents Nanny and Poppy and their maternal grandfather was Zayde, a Yiddish word for grandfather. I don't remember what they called their maternal grandmother.

I DO agree with Susan612. You can simply say "maternal" or "paternal".

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